Helicobacter Pylori

Also known as: H. pylori, Helicobacter pylori, Helicobacter pylori stomach infection

What is Helicobacter pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (previously known as campylobacter pylori) is a spiral shaped (or curved rod), motile (it has finger like projections that help it move) bacterium that infects (by burrowing into the lining) the stomach, and duodenum sometimes causing illness. It is one of the commonest infections found in humans, though most (80%) people who have the bacteria in their stomachs, have no symptoms. In the USA less than 10% of children under the age of 12 years are infected. When children do become symptomatic, it can cause a number of troublesome digestive problems including gastritis and ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.


What causes Helicobacter pylori?

The bacteria is thought to come from contaminated food and water in many instances. It is also contagious and can be passed from person to person and appears related to poor living conditions, poor hygiene and crowding. It is unclear why some people have symptoms to the Helicobacter pylori infection and others do not, but children may be better able to clear the infection.


What are the symptoms of Helicobacter pylori?

Common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, pallor and/or pain with meals or at night time, and changes in bowel habits. Other gastrointestinal symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and discomfort, fatigue, bloating, belching, diarrhea, among other symptoms particularly with gastric or duodenal ulcers.


What are Helicobacter pylori care options?

Your child's pediatrician/gastroenterologist will decide which antibiotics (or combination of antibiotics) with other medications are needed to treat your child. Dietary modifications may ease the symptoms.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 5/1/2017 2:08:46 PM

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